After the initial scramble to possess a smart-phone with the latest features by those who could afford one, came the challenge to produce a phone for the rest of us; one that has all the features and looks of the expensive phones, but is affordable for the average person. The latest contribution from LG attempts to meet this challenge, and does so fairly well. The L3, latest of the Optimus Line, has a slick and compact look that says “expensive” but in reality is very affordable. It can be picked up for around £80.00, or so, in most places.
Appearance and Function
The L3 is has a thin build with a modern black and silver shine and classy feel. It is a little short at 103mm, but still feels substantial enough in your hand. There is a full transparent panel covering the gloss-black front that’s surrounded by a modern looking chrome-like trim. There is a 81.28mm TFT LCD, capacitive touch-screen 256K display that is just a little smaller than the iPhone 4S or the HTC One V. Although the picture is not the sharpest, with a resolution of only 240×320 pixels, the display is bright enough to see in most light. A few small problems with the display include a lack of clarity when viewed at an angle, and the touch-screen requires some aggressiveness when selecting an item, but nothing that stands out as a huge impediment to regular use.
There is the normal complement of buttons on the edge of the unit (Power and Volume) and a mini USB for charging. The buttons can feel a little awkward because of the size of the phone, but it can be adjusted to fairly easily. Sound can be played through the single speaker on the front or the 3.5mm headphone jack on its side. The back of the phone has a removable black plastic cover which has a stippled-like texture for added grip, but that texture also picks up pocket lint and dust, making constant cleaning necessary. The back panel covers a removable 1540 mAh battery that reportedly delivers an excellent 36 to 48 hours of fairly heavy use. The SIMM and the micro SD slot are here also.
Features & Specs
The L3 is packed with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800MHz single-core processor. The onboard memory is only 1GB, whereas, most phones carry around 3G, but with an optional micro SD card you can add up to 32GB in the supplied slot. Connectivity is very basic with GSM, GPRS, HSDPA, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 3.0, but that covers most normal user’s needs. The operating software is an older version of Android, V2.3.6 Gingerbread, but LG has added the Optimus 2.0 Lite user interface which improves usability a bit.
This is the mini version of the interface LG uses on the more expensive L5 and L7 phones, but it seems to only be missing the extraneous graphic effects of the full version. There is a 3-megapixel rear-facing camera with no flash, but it does offer a range of basic picture modes like autofocus and digital zoom. The camera is very basic and has a hard time producing good shots in anything but ideal lighting conditions but works just fine for quick snapshots. The Video playback handles most known file formats such as MP4, H.264, H.263, WMV, DivX, and XviD. Audio also plays the most common formats like MP3,WAV, WMA, eAAC+, AMR, and AC3 and has FM radio and a voice recorder.
When all is said and done, the LG Optimus L3 for the most part answers the need for a very basic, affordable smart-phone, with the added benefit of looking hot right out of the box.